Check It Out: The Heap by Sean Adams

Jul 5, 2021

This is Jessi Wakefield with the Sioux City Public Library, and you’re listening to Check It Out. 

Today I would like to recommend the unique and quirky All Iowa Reads Finalist, The Heap by Sean Adams. 

Des Moines native and Iowa Writer’s Workshop Alumnus, Sean Adams has created a truly eccentric novel about the rise and fall of the towering Las Verticales, a high-rise housing complex standing over 500 stories tall. The Vert, as it's known, is a marvel of modern architecture. A place that is more a city to itself than a building, with unconventional urban planning. That is until one day, the building suddenly collapses into a pile of rubble now known as The Heap. 

The clean-up and retrieval efforts are left up to the citizens known as Dig Hands, who’ve made a settlement outside of The Heap. Dig Hands remove debris and bodies from the building’s remains, which span twenty acres of desert land. We follow Orville, a Dig Hand who is desperate to recover his brother Bernard from the wreckage. Bernard is the beloved DJ from the Las Verticales radio station who somehow is still alive within The Heap and is still broadcasting. 

Also digging is Lydia who has political ambitions, or rather, societal engineering ambitions. Orville and Lydia are drawn into a bizarre caper in which the you never know who is acting, who is genuine, or if you can even trust the voices you hear.  

The Heap is a character-driven, immensely satirical, and wholly original debut. Adams uses a mix of present-day storytelling and pre-collapse glimpses of life in the Vert. There are several characters that shine in this book, but it’s Orville in whom you become totally invested and desperately root for. 

Contact the Sioux City Library to get your copy of The Heap by Sean Adams, or chat with one of our librarians to get other dark, satirical, and hilarious titles. 

Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Avery Brothers.